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Penguin Cancels Embattled Memoir

Just a day after defending Herman Rosenblat's Holocaust memoir, Berkley announces that it will be canceling the publication and seeking a return of the advance that the author and agent have received.
It's unknown whether the movie adaption will be made.  The producer, Harris Salomon, wants Rosenblat to go on Oprah and do a James Frey/Nan Talese groveling show.   Hey, maybe Rosenblat can serve as a Gawker intern in an attempt to rebuild his public image ala Frey.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Allen Bean
    Dec 28, 2008 @ 06:38:22

    The movie will go on as planned. See the blog note on the TNR site.

    Harris Salomon, the producer, plans to change the title of the movie, change the settings as well, change the names of the characters and emphasize right from the start that the movie, to be filmed in Hungary, is FICTION and NOT a true story, much like LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL by the Italian director and actor Mr Benigno. Production is set to start in Hungary in 2009, with a completed film coming to a theater new you in maybe 2010 or 2011. I don’t know who the actors or director will be. But there is a website:

    Atlantic Overseas Pictures

    (New York/London) — Like most followers of the deeply moving Holocaust story
    of Herman and Roma Rosenblat, Atlantic Overseas Pictures is deeply troubled
    by the allegations that parts of the love story may be fictionalized . AOP
    and its producers, Harris Salomon and Abi Sirokh, where shocked when the
    revelations were revealed in recent news reports covering Mr. Rosenblat’s
    forthcoming book.

    Whereas the Penguin Publsihing book “Angel at the Fence” was a non fiction
    account of Rosenblat’s life, the feature film, The Flower of the Fence” was
    always a lose and fictionalized adaptation of his story. Therefore, AOP its
    principals and partners believe the integrity and the beauty of the story
    remains as a work of fiction. Its veracity as a story of hope and love
    during a time of immense suffering remains a story of inspiration as a
    fictional account of mans life and fantasy.

    AOP may rewrite elements of the script to reflect recent revelations about
    Herman and Roma Rosenblat and why they apparently fabricated elements of
    their wartime love story. The motion picture will portray the fictional
    elements of the love story that captivated people globally while at the same
    time show the Holocaust in an historically accurate and truthful manner.

    Mr. Rosenblat has agreed to donate all monies from the film to Holocaust
    survivor charities as a condition to moving forward.

    AOP deeply believes the message of the “Flower of the Fence” is ironically
    more poignant in light of the recent revelations of the messenger Herman
    Rosenblat. As a work of fiction, the story retains its power to grip
    audiences worldwide and tell a story of inspiration that transcends the
    present controversy.

  2. Ann Bruce
    Dec 28, 2008 @ 11:53:11

    @Allen Bean: I’m not so sure I want to see a movie made by people who couldn’t even do a cursory edit of a public announcement.

  3. Allen Bean
    Dec 28, 2008 @ 20:33:29

    Anne Bruce: “I'm not so sure I want to see a movie made by people who couldn't even do a cursory edit of a public announcement.”

    Edit, schmedit. So don’t see the movie. Nobody said you had to see it. Information is as information is. What’s your problem, Anne?

  4. Estara
    Dec 29, 2008 @ 06:13:04

    OH well, you know a blog is really popular when you get major griefers showing up. Kudos to the Ja(y)nes)

  5. Anion
    Dec 29, 2008 @ 07:38:17

    What's your problem, Anne?

    Hmm. Perhaps her problem is that she doesn’t spell her name “Anne”?

    Or that she’s a writer, and correct spelling and grammar are important to writers? That the lack of those things makes the announcement–and thus the people responsible for it–look sloppy and unprofessional, and therefore makes us doubt their ability to produce a worthwhile film? Or maybe that she doesn’t have a problem at all, and is entitled to her opinion, and why the hell do you care if she doesn’t want to see the movie? Is there some reason why you felt the need to leap all over her? I thought you had an issue with this movie anyway; now you’re defending it?

    People express opinions here. That’s the way it works. Are you going to jump all over everyone with “What’s your problem?” every time they do so?

    (And is there some reason why you bolded the word “edit”?)

  6. Ann Bruce
    Dec 29, 2008 @ 10:40:08

    @Allen Bean: Anion beat me to it. But, yes, if AOP cannot handle a minor public announcement without making mistakes, what are their chances of doing shoddy work on a much bigger project? They have already proven their fact-checking is lacking.

  7. Mireya
    Dec 29, 2008 @ 13:10:12

    What I don’t understand was the need of Rosenblat to embellish a survival story that is remarkable as is. He is an actual survivor of the Holocaust. I read on CNN that he will be donating all the money proceeds from the movie to a Holocaust’s Survivors fund or something along those lines, but he has outright refused to apologize. His justification for doing it was quite lame.

  8. Jane
    Dec 29, 2008 @ 14:35:04

    @Allan Bean – the reason I didn’t look into it is because I’m not an investigative reporter. Sure, breaking the story would have done wonders for the blog but I don’t have the time, resources, or energy to do an in depth piece on something like this. I’m glad for you and others that this hoax was brought to light. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be the one to help you but I certainly admire your perseverance.

  9. Ann Bruce
    Dec 29, 2008 @ 23:14:11

    @Mireya: Rosenblat initially came up with the story to win a contest. So, I doubt his claims that he only wanted “to bring happiness to people…[and] to make good in this world.”

    As for the proceeds of the movie going to charity… Well, that wasn’t announced until after his story was exposed as a hoax.

  10. Mireya
    Dec 30, 2008 @ 07:19:21

    @Anne: yah, I’ve been reading some more on this and saw that. Probably he’s donating that money under pressure from the producers. My husband, who is Jewish btw, says it has always been about the money and that is what all this reeks of. So yeah, you are probably correct. There’s nothing here that spells “happiness”… except his own. It irks me that he has not apologized at all. That speaks volumes.

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